MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) — Protecting and serving isn’t exactly what is used to be.

But Ofc. David Parsons (Ret.) says his service years were some of the best of his life.

“I just want to be a normal person,” Parsons said For 24 years, I’ve never been that normal person.”

For his entire career, Parsons was a patrol officer in Mahomet.

“I never thought I’d stay here,” explained Parsons. “I never thought I’d be a police officer here. I’d get hired, go to Champaign, I’d go up to the suburbs, and things kinda just worked out here.”

His dad was a part-time cop in Mahomet in the 1980s and early 90s, so he says it made sense. The Mahomet community is like a family.

“You get to know all the players,” said Parsons. “Like the village administrator and I are friends. The mayor and I are friends. You get to know the people that work for the water, the people that work for streets and alleys, so you don’t have your small core of the police department; it’s a family. It’s a village-wide thing.”

As in every career, Parsons says being a cop had ups and downs, but he’ll never forget the toughest day of his job.

“In 2016, when Ofc. [Jeremy] Scharlow, was shot in the line of duty,” Parsons explained. “I was at home. I’m actually on the fire department, (volunteer fire department) doing that for 30 years. The pager went off. It said: officer shot. Your heart sinks.”

He says you never think it’s going to happen in your town.

“I listened to radio traffic,” Parsons said. “I knew they were getting him to the fire department, getting him an ambulance. I jumped in the back of the ambulance and rode to the hospital with him and that is by far the toughest day I never want to relive.”

That wasn’t the only unique day on the force.

“9/11 was strange,” Parsons recalled. “I worked that day. I still remember it. I still remember almost play-by-play, how that went down and nobody knew. Nobody knew what was going to happen next.”

Now, he’s looking forward to what’s next; the more predictable things in life.

“Having my holidays off and getting some work done around my house,” said Parsons.